Sep 16 – 17, 2021
Palazzo Strozzi
Europe/Rome timezone

Revisiting insider-outsider approach: The role of identity, moral conviction, and union democracy.

Sep 16, 2021, 3:15 PM
Track 2 1.1


Yooseop Chun (King's College London)


Nonstandard forms of employment commonly involve precarious conditions of labour. Given such challenges, trade unions are expected to fight against the use of (precarious) nonstandard employment. However, in reality, some unions refuse to represent nonstandard workers.
This study aims to explore why unions fail or even refuse to represent nonstandard workers by revisiting the insider-outsider approach. The insider-outsider approach provides an explanation of the union exclusiveness by its dependence on economist rationality assumption of core insiders (Hassel, 2014; Palier & Thelen, 2010). I contribute to the current approach exploring the psychological factors of identity and moral conviction as alternative determinants of union behaviours. Also, I provide an additional explanation of how the preferences of insiders are reflected in union behaviour by exploring the role of union democracy, as the current approach could be elaborated by tracing the process the individual factors evolve into the organisational outcomes.
Based on semi-structured interviews with 33 current and previous union members of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU), I explore how union members develop their distinct identity of insiders. Then, I seek to build a consolidated model to investigate how the preferences of insiders are disproportionately represented to union response through the union democracy.

Hassel, A. (2014). The Paradox of Liberalization—Understanding Dualism and the Recovery of the German Political Economy. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 52(1), 57-81.
Palier, B., & Thelen, K. (2010). Institutionalizing dualism: Complementarities and change in France and Germany. Politics & Society, 38(1), 119-148.

Primary author

Yooseop Chun (King's College London)

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